[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Monday, 2017-11-20

Save the boners?

Filed under: Medicine — bblackmoor @ 09:01

Hmm. Prostate cancer is more deadly than I realized.

The number of new cases of prostate cancer was 119.8 per 100,000 men per year. The number of deaths was 20.1 per 100,000 men per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2010-2014 cases and deaths. Approximately 11.6 percent of men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2012-2014 data. In 2014, there were an estimated 3,085,209 men living with prostate cancer in the United States.

In contrast, the number of new cases of female breast cancer was 124.9 per 100,000 women per year. The number of deaths was 21.2 per 100,000 women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2010-2014 cases and deaths. Approximately 12.4 percent of women will be diagnosed with female breast cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2012-2014 data. In 2014, there were an estimated 3,327,552 women living with female breast cancer in the United States.

I knew that the incidence of prostate cancer is about the same as that of breast cancer, but for some reason I thought the mortality rate was much lower.

Save The Boobie, Support Breast Cancer Research

We have the “save the boobies” campaign to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. Maybe a “save the boners” campaign for prostate cancer research would not be a terrible idea. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would be surprised at the mortality rate.

P.S. There are people who bitterly oppose the “save the boobies” campaign, and would rather it didn’t exist. I think those people are wrong.

Humans are pretty simple. We like sex, we like pretty people, we like people with whom we can easily sympathize. A pretty girl with an inoperable brain tumor raises hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Save the boobies” raises awareness of breast cancer and raises money. A boy with a beautiful smile and a gift for science gets tons of support. People who entertain us get our attention, and our money. Fat people, ugly people, diseases that are just gross, people who are completely ordinary… not so much.

We can bemoan that we are so shallow, and accomplish nothing, or we can leverage human nature to try and make the world better. Having had more than one family member diagnosed with breast cancer (one of whom is now dead), I think any positive action we can take is a good one.

Monday, 2017-05-22

Morgellon’s disease

Filed under: Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 10:46

I recently heard about a phenomenon called “Morgellon’s disease“. Reading about it, I am finding the situation eerily familiar: amateur “experts” think they know more than actual experts, and construct elaborate conspiracy theories to explain why scientists don’t agree with them, when in fact the amateur “experts” are in denial (some even suffering from legitimate mental illness).

Thursday, 2016-05-26

Adventures in gardening

Filed under: Gardening,Nature — bblackmoor @ 16:44

Just had my heart attack moment of the day. I was moving this concrete planter (it’s about halfway to its intended new home, in this photo). I got it to this point, when suddenly a grey bullfrog-shaped critter leaped from right in front of me, in the middle of the the planter, away to the bushes on the right. And then another!

2016-05-26 17.19.28

“HOLY FREEZING SHIP!” I shouted (except that’s not what I shouted). The camouflage on bullfrogs is AMAZING, I thought to myself. I had no idea they were sitting right in front of me.

So I grabbed the sides of the planter, and just barely budged it when ANOTHER ONE jumps away.

“FRIEND!” I shouted (except that’s not what I shouted). I looked closely at the dirt. How could there have been another bullfrog right there? As I was looking, ANOTHER ONE jumped away.

It was at this point that I noticed two things. First, two of the ones that had jumped away were slowly hopping away from me in different directions, and they were definitely not bullfrogs. They were little bunnies. Second, that fuzzy looking spider-webby looking area on the dirt, covering a hole (I now realized), was squirming a little bit, like there was at least one more debating whether to flee the giant monster (me).

“Well, fudge,” I said (and that is actually what I said).

What was I to do? I briefly considered trying to catch the little bunnies and put them back. Yeah, right. Even if I did manage to catch one, it would probably just run away again. More likely, I would only succeed in making them run even farther away from where mama bunny expects to find them later this evening.

2016-05-26 17.19.54

2016-05-26 17.20.13

So I took these photos and then left the planter where it is. Bunnies have been dealing with creatures much meaner than me for a very long time, and I am sure that mama bunny has a plan for situations like this. So I am not too worried about the little bunnies. The planter will just have to stay where it is for a while.

Also, I think I sprained my wrist.

Friday, 2015-11-27

What’s real and what’s not

Filed under: Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 17:42

futility_demotivational

A brief reminder of what’s real and what’s not.

  1. Danger posed to us by immigrants: not real.
  2. Immigrants fleeing imminent death: real.
  3. Danger posed to us by pistol-packing soccer moms in the cereal aisle at Wal-Mart: not real.
  4. Being 75% more likely to be killed by a friend or family member than by a stranger: real.
  5. Ghosts, angels, gods, demons, devils, ancient astronauts, bigfoot, flying saucers, homeopathic “medicine”, and cow-mutilating aliens: not real.
  6. Being more likely to die of heart disease, cancer, or chronic lower respiratory disease than from all other causes of death combined: real.
  7. Vaccines causing autism: not real.
  8. Measles, mumps, and whooping cough making a comeback because parents decide not to vaccinate their children: real.
  9. Conspiracy among scientists to promote “the global warming scam”: not real.
  10. Global temperatures increasing faster than was predicted 20 years ago: real.

Sunday, 2015-03-08

End “Daylight Saving Time”

Filed under: Nature,Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 11:51

Stop the madness! Write to your federal and state representatives and ask them to do away with so-called “Daylight Saving Time”. It costs money, it costs lives, and it accomplishes absolutely nothing.

Alarm Clock

Friday, 2014-02-07

Sympathy for the devil

Filed under: Mythology,Science — bblackmoor @ 12:53

“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18, King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition)

I feel sorry for Ken Ham, because it seems to me, from listening to him, that he has “faithed” himself into a corner. He has convinced himself that his life only has meaning if a specific set of “facts” are never contradicted. He’s set up this construct in his head where his life only has value if his god exists, and his god only exists if his interpretation of a book he has read is infallible and factual. Therefore, he has to struggle to find more and more outlandish explanations for why his interpretation of a book is not contradicted by the real world around him. Because if he’s wrong about that book, or that book is in error, then he concludes that his god does not exist, and therefore his life has no meaning.

“My understanding of [anything] must be absolutely correct, or else my life has no meaning. I must therefore oppose anything which contradicts my understanding of [anything].”

The vanity of such a position is staggering. It would be funny if it were not so tragic, and so avoidable.

Friday, 2013-08-02

Snakes and stones

Filed under: Home,Nature — bblackmoor @ 11:38

rocksrockssnake

I was taking out the trash when I noticed that one of the rocks next to our front steps had a spot of yellow on it. I picked up a few rocks, looking at each, and I found three rocks that had letters painted on them: “HYD”, “HYDRANGEA”, and “BLEED”. After stepping back to take a photo, I realized that I’d also found something else. As the saying goes, if it’d been a snake it would have bit me.

It didn’t bite me.

Tuesday, 2013-06-18

Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

Filed under: Art,Books,Ecology,Society — bblackmoor @ 14:58
Arcology: The City in the Image of Man

I read voraciously as a child. I stumbled across Arcology: The City in the Image of Man in the library some time in the late 1970s, and it made a huge impression on me. I immediately created some imaginary worlds for people to live in within these immense structures. I have been thinking about the cyberpunk genre recently, in large part because of some conversations with Chris Helton´╗┐. I made an offhand comment about cyberpunk being the 2020s as imagined by the 1980s, but really, I think cyberpunk has its roots even earlier, in the work of Paolo Soleri and Samuel Delany (Babel 17, Dhalgren).

Friday, 2013-04-12

Squirrel nest

Filed under: Nature — bblackmoor @ 18:59

I watched a squirrel making its nest today. It would climb down to the ground, grab as many leaves as it could stuff in its mouth, climb up a tree next to its nest, jump over to the nest-tree, stuff the leaves in, and then climb down to get more leaves. It did this for as long as I watched it, which was only a few minutes, but it made several trips. It was really interesting to watch.

Susan saw a group of four bunnies this afternoon, chasing each other and playing at the feet of a couple of deer. No photos, alas.

Friday, 2013-01-11

Hypothesis: pointing out facts in a conversation is a waste of time

Filed under: Science,Society — bblackmoor @ 08:31

HYPOTHESIS: People who care about facts look for them before expressing an opinion. People who don’t care about facts retain their opinion regardless of any facts presented. In either case, pointing out that someone’s opinion is not factually based is a waste of time.

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